I think the party line is to recommend due dilligence in the purchase of a boat. I agree that boats run the spectrum in quality and condition, but that's what the survey is for. With that, the survey is only part of a larger process of vetting potential boats.
I agree with a lot of what YouMeAndTheD is saying about getting out there and following the dream, but failing to hire a surveyor could leave these guys stuck with a dock queen that needs more work than they can afford. Sailing courses are nothing compared to the expense of a boat with a list of hidden issues.
I'm 30, have purchased 4 boats so far, 3 of those were 36 footers. I've sailed the Hawaiian Islands, the Chesepeake, the Atlantic south to Florida, and am outfitting for a year in the Caribbean. I know first hand the dangers associated with skipping out on the marine surveyor. You could have the greatest PO on earth, but reading them doesn't get you much when they've only owned the boat for a year, and that's assuming you'll even be able to talk to the PO. A lot of brokers don't like potential buyers meeting up with the PO.
Just pretend the boat is going to cost 10's of thousands of dollars and act accordingly when purchasing.